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C'est la Z

Preparing to teach Online

I've been seeing some tweets over the past couple of days about the wonders of online teaching. How it's at least as good or better than in person or how we should have been doing it all along.


If you say that online is better than in person that says more about the (low) quality of your teaching than it does about the quality of online tech teaching resources.

I mean, it's pretty clear that anything you can do online you can do in person since you can still avail yourselves of the same tech tools while you can also do the in person live stuff. Online you've only got online.

Looking at it another way, is an online show, concert, or sporting event (weather notwithstanding) ever better than the live thing? There's something about in person even when you take away the connection between teacher and students and students and students that makes it special.

While online isn't better there are times where it's necessary or can be used to complement or enhance in person.

Hunter hasn't made any announcements about any closings due to COVID19 but it would be foolish not to prepare. I also want to figure out if some of my CS Teacher Certification program can be offered remotely as not all interested teachers can get to campus. For these reasons and a few more, I think I'd like to try to do at least a couple of my classes remotely over the next few of weeks (sooner if it's forced upon us).

Technology shouldn't be a problem - all my students get a laptop as part of the Daedalus program. The only questions are will they have sufficient bandwidth if they're joining from home and if they have a suitable location from where they can connect in.

As part of Hunter's School of Education I can use Zoom and that has the video conferencing, chat, screen sharing and whiteboarding. The only thing I have to workout is how to use the breakout room features for group work and to see if that can flow nicely in the class. I've got a couple of lessons that should work pretty well as first time experiments so overall it should be pretty easy to give it a go.

Will it be as good as live? No. Will it be better than nothing? Absolutely. Is it worth burning a live class to learn a bit about online - to see what can be done without extensive training and class prep and to see what can be leveraged in a pinch? I think so.

If it happens, I'll report back.

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